When will the cheating epidemic end in football?
Luis Suarez is a fantastic footballer. One of the best in the Premier League, a nightmare for defenders. He controls the ball with grace and poise and makes scoring look like a hobby rather than a job. So why do so many millions worldwide (bar Liverpool fans) despise him?
He is a cheat.
The first of Suarez’s cheating tendencies came to light in the World Cup 2010 match between Uruguay and Ghana, with Suarez representing the South Americans’. Ghana had got further in the tournament than any African country had managed in the past. The game ended a draw in regulation time, and carried on to extra time. Late in extra time Ghana won a freekick, which was curled into the area, and struck beautifully by Stephen Appiah. It was destined for goal, it was a certainty. That is until Suarez decided the best thing to do to save the chances of Uruguay was to purposefully handball on the goal-line. He was sent off, Ghana handed a penalty, which they missed. Uruguay ended up progressing into the semi finals. After cheating to win, Suarez claimed ‘I made the save of the tournament’, and was seen cheering and celebrating after the penalty miss.
So why do players cheat? Could it be due to poor refereeing? Do they not trust their footballing ability to get past a player? Or could it be because that is what they have been taught to do?
When a player gets caught in the chest with a flailing elbow, their first instinct seems to be to grab their face and fall to the ground with such a lack of dignity, one would assume that a sniper had been placed in the crowd to assassinate them. It is amazing how one minute a player is almost at deaths door, and the next minute, as soon as he is escorted off the pitch, he is bouncing up and down, full of adrenaline ready to sprint back on to the pitch to give his tormentor ‘what they deserve’.
So what can we do to prevent cheating being a continuous part of the beautiful game?
First off – every dive should be cautioned with a red card. After one red card for diving, no players will deem it worthy if those are the consequences.
Secondly – video technology. This is being trialled at the moment, and it cannot come a second too soon. We do not want as many stoppages as there are in the NFL, but for important decisions; penalties, red cards and diving to win a penalty or a foul. The second that there is a dire consequence for cheats, the sooner it will stop!
Lastly – Managers take note. Sir Alex Ferguson did not take kindly to Ashley Young constantly diving, and sat him out for a few games. NO player is bigger than their team!
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